Research into public trust in charities and trustees’ experience of their role 2023

Download the report here: Public trust in charities 2023

Public trust headlines

Trust in charities has marginally increased when trust in other institutions has flatlined or fallen. Charities continue to be the second most trusted social institution of those that we benchmark against.

The public want charities to manage funds responsibly and show how they make a difference. They think that charities should minimise risk when spending charity funds, but not to the point of simply accumulating funds.

The findings affirm last year’s research on transparency – it’s easier for the public to trust charities that are small and local, and causes that they feel personally connected to.

The public and trustees broadly agree that the Commission should balance supporting charities and dealing with wrongdoing.

Trustee research headlines

Most trustees continue to feel that they understand how public expectations around finances, impact and values should influence charities. They continue to recognise the importance of taking account of those expectations.

Trustees remain firmly confident that the Commission will deal appropriately with wrongdoing and harm once uncovered. They are more confident than in 2020 that the Commission can uncover wrongdoing.

Smaller charities are generally lagging behind larger ones in practices that facilitate inclusive board recruitment and retention (such as skills audits, advertising roles externally, providing information on the trustee role, and inclusive practices in meetings).

Trustees’ awareness of the 5-minute guides has increased since last year. Trustees who use our advice and guidance continue to show more understanding of their responsibilities, particularly around financial oversight.

About the reports

This research was conducted on behalf of the Charity Commission by our research partner, Yonder.

The research was conducted in Spring 2023.

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